Canyonlands National Park
Island-in-the-Sky A: Upheaval Dome
Canyonlands is a large park with three "units" (Island in the Sky, The Maze and The Needles) with separate entry points. We chose the central one, the Isle in the Sky unit which is closest to Moab and easiest to get to, and promised many spectacular views into canyons far below. The other units take you to those canyons.
Our first stop is a geologic mystery. Upheaval Dome is thought by some to be the folding upthrust of an underlying salt layer, the kind of squeezing action called diapirism, which makes for underground salt domes. But in this case the salt got too close to the surface and was dissolved away leaving a giant hole.
Since there are known salt bodies underlying this area, I thought it was the more likely solution to the mystery.
But apparently more modern geological sleuths see this as an impact crater from a sizable meteor.
In other words a rock fell from space, penetrated the crust here, and it rebounded the way we see it. Guess I'm not modern, I still like the salt dome erosion theory better.
Nevertheless it was an interesting hole in the ground.
Here is the hole and its surroundings: judge for yourself. . . we'll start with the southwestern wall of the crater (and its eroded outlet):
The north to northeast wall is seen here:
The slope up and away from the right side of the above photo looks like this:
Now we will focus in on the center:
The path to and away from the hole was very pleasant:
Now it is time to stop at the Green River and Shafer Canyon overlooks.